With this year’s legislative session now complete, I’ve listed some of the legislation I authored to help Central New Yorkers.
While the future of health care and insurance coverage is being debated in our country’s capital, I’ve taken important steps to help protect New Yorkers. Among these steps is making sure our insurance actually covers what it needs to. Unfortunately, some insurance companies have denied claims for treatment for nausea and other side effects of chemotherapy, simply because it wasn’t specifically pre-authorized, even if the actual chemotherapy was. Providers and their patients need to be able to tackle and treat side effects without having to deal with the time and hassle of waiting for permission from an insurance company. Nitpicking about supplementary — but necessary — treatments just adds an unfair burden and hinders treatment and recovery. Legislation I authored makes sure patients don’t need prior authorization for complementary medical procedures related to previous treatments (A.1129).
I’ve also been standing up for both homeowners and renters to help keep costs down. I authored legislation to allow the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (NYPIUA) to write coverage for underserved markets for an additional three years to ensure access to insurance and keep costs down for policyholders statewide (A.7861). Additionally, the Assembly passed my legislation that would strengthen tenants’ rights in New York state by allowing tenants to deduct water and other utility payments from their rent when the landlord is delinquent in paying utility bills (A.5685) and gives tenants with disabilities the ability to terminate their lease early to find more suitable housing (A.6028-C).
Environmental protections are important for our families’ health and safety. Rising deer populations in Syracuse and the surrounding areas have become a real problem, damaging property, raising the risk of tick-borne infections and causing traffic accidents. I authored a bill that directs the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to report on deer management techniques (A.6818-A). In addition, I secured $200,000 in the 2016-17 budget to fund and develop a deer management plan with SUNY-ESF, and earlier this year, I conducted a survey of nearly 12,000 constituents to solicit feedback and possible solutions. Another bill I authored encourages responsible use of our water by raising the standards of water-efficient plumbing and other appliances to be in alignment with guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (A.5699).
Election reform is another issue that’s been at the forefront this year. Currently, poll inspectors have to put in up to 16 hours in one day, making it hard to find enough workers. Many inspectors are senior citizens, and the long day presents a tough challenge to them. To encourage more people to work the polls, I authored legislation to permit boards of election to allow election inspectors to split shifts, and prorate their compensation accordingly (A.6907-A).
As the only female veteran in the state legislature and the newly appointed Chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Women Veterans, ensuring the brave men and women who served in our military have access to opportunities and benefits when they return home is an issue that hits close to home for me. I sponsored legislation to waive the application fee for civil service exams for those who’ve been honorably discharged to help more veterans find good-paying civil service jobs (A.1105).
These are just some of the many issues I’ve been working on in Albany. I’ll continue fighting to grow our economy, protect the health of our families and environment, find ways to keep more money in the pockets of hardworking families and put Central New York first.